The National Attorneys General Training & Research Institute

The National Attorneys General Training & Research Institute The National Attorneys General Training & Research Institute

Cybercrime Newsletter January-February 2018

The following is a compendium of news reports, case law and legislative actions over the latest bi-monthly period that may be of interest to our AG offices that are dealing with cyber-related issues. Neither the National Association of Attorneys General nor the National Attorneys General Training & Research Institute expresses a view as to the accuracy of news accounts, nor as to the position expounded by the authors of the hyperlinked articles.

Cyber Developments to Note

U.S. Customs and Border Protection released an update to their Directive Governing Border Searches of Electronic Devices which supercedes the previous directive of August 2009. The agency noted that it searches the electronic devices of fewer than one-hundredth of one percent of all arriving international travelers.

A joint effort by law enforcement agencies across Europe eradicated the Luminosity Link Remote Access Trojan (RAT) hacking tool. Once installed on a victim’s computer, a RAT user could access and view documents, record all keystrokes entered and even activate the webcam – all without the victim’s knowledge.

Cybersecurity firm RepKnight released a whitepaper expanding on research showing websites that collect stolen and leaked credentials had 1.16 million email addresses from the top 500 U.K. law firms. The report detailed that 900,000 of those addresses had associated passwords that were visible or “easily cracked online.” The firm found the exposed emails after using a dark web monitoring platform to search for domains from a list of U.K. law firms.

NIST issued a draft Blockchain Technology Overview Report which offers an introduction to blockchain and is designed to help businesses decide when and if to use the technology. The technology underpins Bitcoin and other digital currencies.

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) plans to focus on how broker-dealers handle initial coin offerings and cryptocurrency transactions, according to its annual Examination Priorities Letter. It will closely monitor the role firms play in affecting such transactions and the mechanisms in place to ensure compliance with securities laws.

The Texas Securities Commissioner issued an Emergency Cease and Desist Order to halt the investment programs operated by cryptocurrency marketplace BitConnect, which is based in Great Britain. The Commissioner found that BitConnect investments are securities, but were not registered as required by Texas law.

Recent State Cases

In State v. Diamond, the Minnesota Supreme Court held there was no violation of defendant Matthew Diamond’s Fifth Amendment privilege because his act of providing a fingerprint to the police to unlock his cell phone was not a testimonial communication since it did not reveal the contents of his mind.

In Stickle v. Commonwealth, the Virginia Court of Appeals held that the officer’s access of defendant Matthew Stickle’s computer files did not constitute a trespass in violation of the Fourth Amendment, as Stickle demonstrated his consensual participation by installing file sharing software and setting the contents of a folder as “shared,” thereby exposing the folder to public access. Assistant Attorney General John Jones IV represented the Commonwealth.

In State v. Martinez, a Washington Court of Appeals affirmed defendant Carlos Martinez’ conviction, finding that Texas police lawfully seized his hard drive and were not acting as agents of the Washington State Patrol (WSP) at that time, and the silver platter doctrine allowed the WSP to later examine the hard drive without a warrant.

Recent Federal Cases

In U.S. v. McLamb, the Fourth Circuit concluded that even if the Network Investigative Technique (NIT) warrant violated the Fourth Amendment. the good faith exception precluded suppression of the evidence.

In Peffer v. Stephens, the Sixth Circuit found that the averment that the husband used a computer in the commission of the crime was sufficient to create the presumption that evidence would be found at his residence.

In U.S. v. Curry, the Sixth Circuit found the search warrant for defendant Willie Curry’s residence was supported by probable cause because the information was not stale, and the sex trafficking of children and production of child pornography were part of an ongoing operation.

In U.S. v. Crumble, the Eighth Circuit ruled that the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota properly denied defendant Prentiss Crumble’s motion to suppress evidence recovered from his cell phone, as Crumble had abandoned the vehicle and its contents, including the cell phone, as he fled the scene of the crash; the key was in the ignition; and Crumble initially denied any knowledge of the wrecked vehicle.

In Santa Ana Police Officers Assn. v. City of Santa Ana, the Ninth Circuit ruled that the plaintiffs’ Fourth Amendment claim, which was based on an order to turn over body camera video of an on-duty incident, failed because the officer did not show he had a reasonable expectation of privacy in the video.

Fighting Cybercrime Initiatives in the Attorney General Community

Twenty-two Attorneys General filed a petition in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit that argues the FCC decision to eliminate net neutrality was arbitrary, unconstitutional and in conflict with notice and rule-making requirements.

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall announced the establishment of a Cyber Crime Lab within his office to provide federal, state and local law enforcement with digital investigative and forensic support.

Nevada Attorney General Adam Paul Laxalt’s Office and the FTC charged the parties responsible for the revenge pornography website MyEx.com with violation of state and federal law for their non-consensual posting of intimate images of individuals and their personal information.

New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas launched an ad campaign targeting teenagers and parents with children under 18 years of age in an effort to combat online sexual predators. The ad is funded by a federal grant to the New Mexico ICAC Task Force.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s Child Exploitation Unit arrested Alberto Vazquez on one count of Online Solicitation of a Minor, a second-degree felony.


Hedda Litwin is the Editor of the Cybercrime Newsletter and may be reached at 202-326-6022. The Cybercrime Newsletter is a publication of the National Association of Attorneys General. Any use and/or copies of this newsletter in whole or part must include the customary bibliographic citation. NAAG retains copyright and all other intellectual property rights in the material. For content submissions or to contact the editor directly, please e-mail hlitwin@naag.org.

Faculty Spotlight

NAGTRI's faculty are top-rated experts in their field. Read about them.

Course Schedule

NAGTRI offers high-quality, responsive and innovative trainings.

Research & Newsletters

NAGTRI produces comprehensive research and newsletters on topical legal issues.